Tag Archive: African Biodiversity

No Safe Limits for Toxic Pesticides in Our Foods

Source: http://monarchtestinglab.com/chemical-testing.php

By Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji
July 2017
On 7 April 7 2017 the South African government issued draft amendments to its regulations governing the legal limits for pesticide residues on food crops. The proposed amendments expose the gaps in regulations to date, despite the cultivation of herbicide-tolerant GM crops for almost two decades.
As the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) team researched the proposed changes to Maximum Residues Levels (MRLs) (see Box below) for various vegetables and staple crops, it became clear that there is no established system or single database where information on MRLs can be found. Even more concerning, it appears that these draft amendments are the first to set levels for glyphosate herbicides on soybeans, while no levels appear to have been set for glufosinate on maize, even though glyphosate-tolerant soybeans and glufosinate-tolerant maize have been cultivated here for many years.
The incomplete information exposes the South African government’s inadequate oversight of our food system. Indeed, the oversight role is fragmented across 14 separate acts of parliament, with policy execution hampered by a lack of clear demarcation regarding mandates, responsibilities and accountability. In contrast, the regulations on MRLs for international export are tightly regulated by the

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project: Real or false solution to climate change?

By Lim Li Ching, Senior Researcher, Third World Network

Climate change is an urgent challenge facing farmers in Africa. As our world warms, many farmers are already experiencing devastating consequences, including storms, drought, floods, heat waves and extreme weather events. The implications for food security are severe, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projecting that wheat, rice and maize production will be negatively impacted by local temperature increases of 2°C or more above levels in the late twentieth century. Coupled with a predicted reduction in renewable surface water and groundwater resources in most dry subtropical regions, the prospects for agriculture are grim and extremely worrying.

Into this context enters the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. The objective of the WEMA project is to produce drought-tolerant and insect-protected maize varieties, both conventional and genetically modified (GM). According to its proponents, these varieties “will provide valuable economic, agronomic and environmental1 benefits to millions of farmers by helping them produce more reliable harvests under moderate drought conditions and better grain quality due to reduced insect damage. This will help farmers harvest enough to feed their families, a surplus which they can sell to increase their incomes, and help strengthen

STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN AFRICA

MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?

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STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN AFRICA
MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?

African agriculture is in need of support and investment. Many initiatives are flowing from the North, including the G8’s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa” and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). These initiatives are framed in terms of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). This gives them a cover of legitimacy.

But what is driving these investments, and who is set to benefit from them?

The current wave of investment emerges on the back of the gathering global crisis with financial, economic, food, energy and ecological dimensions. Africa is seen as underperforming and in control of valuable resources that capital seeks for profitable purposes. The World Bank and others tell us Africa has an abundance of available fertile land, and that Africa’s production structure is inefficient, based as it is on many small farms producing mainly for themselves and their neighbourhoodsi.

Africa is seen as a possible new frontier to make profits, with an eye on land, food and biofuels in particular. The recent investment wave must be understood